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Italians Respond to Pope’s Slur by Taking Francis to Pride

WorldItalians Respond to Pope’s Slur by Taking Francis to Pride

At Rome’s Pride celebration, bare-chested men in pink angel wings danced to Abba songs, women wrapped in rainbow flags kissed, and shimmering drag queens waved from parade floats. And then there was Pope Francis.

The pontiff’s image was everywhere. On cardboard cutouts adorned with flower necklaces, on glittery banners, on stickers. Romans came to the Pride parade on Saturday dressed like Francis, wearing papal hats and T-shirts that read, “There is never too much frociaggine,” a reference to an offensive slur against gay men that the pope has been accused of using twice in recent weeks.

The slur “is the slogan of the 2024 Pride,” said Martina Lorina, 28, an actress who was holding up a banner bearing the word.

After Italian media reported that Pope Francis used the slur at a meeting with priests to complain that there was too much “gayness” in the church, the Vatican apologized.

But Rome’s Pride attendees took a different tack to respond to the insult: They made it their own. Pride participants symbolically invited the pope and his slur to the party, using a longtime tactic of the L.G.B.T.Q. community to turn insults into words of pride.

“Let’s make him feel how beautiful gayness is,” a participant shouted in the crowd as men dressed as unicorns sang a Britney Spears song and children held hands with their two mothers, their faces covered in glittery rainbows.

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